June 24, 2009

When less is more in Twenty20

Teams winning despite hitting fewer boundaries, scoring slower, and losing more wickets than the opposition

The World Twenty20 matches in England over the last fortnight did not conform to the fare usually served during 20-over thrashes. The tournament had fewer 200-plus totals than the inaugural competition in South Africa in 2007 did, fewer sixes per match, and no centuries. So in this week's List, which makes a return after a three-week hiatus, we've looked at Twenty20 matches that a team has won despite hitting fewer boundaries and scoring at a lower run-rate than the opposition.

It isn't often that a team wins in Twenty20 cricket despite hitting six fewer sixes than their opponents. In fact, it's happened only once, during the opening game of the World Twenty20 in South Africa. West Indies hit 12 sixes, 10 of which came off Chris Gayle's bat and one each from Marlon Samuels and Ramnaresh Sarwan, during their innings of 205. South Africa hit only six sixes during their chase but made up the difference with 24 fours, the most in an innings at the time, and ran down the target of 206 with eight wickets and 14 balls to spare. The aggregate of 252 runs scored through fours and sixes remains a record for the most runs from boundaries in a match.

It wasn't a one-off for South Africa, either. They pulled off a similar victory at the Wanderers in March this year, when Australia hit eight sixes but managed to score only 166. South Africa did it in fours, clearing the boundary only three times, and reached the target in the final over of the innings.

Winning a T20I despite hitting fewer sixes than the opposition (excluding matches with adjusted targets)
Team Score 6s Opposition Score 6s Diff Ground Start Date Scorecard
South Africa 208/2 6 v West Indies 205/6 12 -6 Johannesburg Sep 11, 2007 T20I 20
South Africa 168/6 3 v Australia 166/7 8 -5 Johannesburg Mar 27, 2009 T20I 87
England 173/5 1 v West Indies 169/7 5 -4 The Oval Jun 29, 2007 T20I 16
Bangladesh 165/4 4 v West Indies 164/8 8 -4 Johannesburg Sep 13, 2007 T20I 24
India 157/5 4 v Pakistan 152 8 -4 Johannesburg Sep 24, 2007 T20I 46
New Zealand 150/5 3 v India 149/6 7 -4 Wellington Feb 27, 2009 T20I 85
South Africa 146/3 4 v Bangladesh 144 7 -3 Cape Town Sep 15, 2007 T20I 31
England 127/1 1 v New Zealand 123/9 4 -3 Manchester Jun 13, 2008 T20I 56
Sri Lanka 160/4 4 v Australia 159/9 7 -3 Nottingham Jun 8, 2009 T20I 97
South Africa 201/4 7 v Australia 199/7 9 -2 Johannesburg Feb 24, 2006 T20I 6
Australia 186/6 5 v New Zealand 132 7 -2 Perth Dec 11, 2007 T20I 49
Scotland 100/2 0 v Bermuda 99/7 2 -2 Belfast Aug 3, 2008 T20I 61
Pakistan 110/3 1 v Zimbabwe 107/8 3 -2 King City (NW) Oct 12, 2008 T20I 73
New Zealand 166/3 11 v India 162/8 13 -2 Christchurch Feb 25, 2009 T20I 84
England 153/7 2 v India 150/5 4 -2 Lord's Jun 14, 2009 T20I 109
South Africa 130/5 0 v India 118/8 2 -2 Nottingham Jun 16, 2009 T20I 113

The third match in the table above is an England victory against West Indies at the Oval, though the hosts hit only one six during a chase of 170. Even Gayle struggled to clear the boundaries in that game, hitting only one six in his 37-ball 61, but Samuels hit three to take West Indies' tally to five. England focused on finding gaps in the field instead - Paul Collingwood hit their solitary six - and reached the target with three balls in hand.

Sri Lanka scored five fewer boundaries (fours and sixes included) than Zimbabwe at King City in October 2008 but still managed to win comfortably. It helped that they had a low target and could pace their chase comfortably. Hamilton Masakadza hit two sixes and Zimbabwe's top six batsmen scored 12 fours between them, but the rest failed and they scraped to 105 in a 17-over match. Sri Lanka knocked off the target in leisurely fashion, hitting only nine boundaries yet finishing the game in 16 overs.

Winning a T20I despite hitting fewer boundaries than the opposition (excluding matches with adjusted targets)
Team Score Num Opposition Score Num Diff Ground Start Date Scorecard
Sri Lanka 107/5 9 v Zimbabwe 106/8 14 -5 King City (NW) Oct 10, 2008 T20I 69
India 167/3 19 v Australia 166/5 22 -3 Mumbai (BS) Oct 20, 2007 T20I 47
Australia 150/7 13 v New Zealand 149/5 16 -3 Sydney Feb 15, 2009 T20I 83
New Zealand 134/5 15 v South Africa 133 17 -2 Johannesburg Oct 21, 2005 T20I 3
Sri Lanka 163 16 v England 161/5 18 -2 Southampton Jun 15, 2006 T20I 7
India 157/5 17 v Pakistan 152 19 -2 Johannesburg Sep 24, 2007 T20I 46
Ireland 118/6 7 v Scotland 117 9 -2 Belfast Aug 2, 2008 T20I 59
Scotland 100/2 5 v Bermuda 99/7 7 -2 Belfast Aug 3, 2008 T20I 61
England 173/5 19 v West Indies 169/7 20 -1 The Oval Jun 29, 2007 T20I 16
Pakistan 191/7 20 v Bangladesh 161/7 21 -1 Nairobi (Gym) Sep 2, 2007 T20I 18
New Zealand 190 26 v India 180/9 27 -1 Johannesburg Sep 16, 2007 T20I 32
Pakistan 110/3 11 v Zimbabwe 107/8 12 -1 King City (NW) Oct 12, 2008 T20I 73
Sri Lanka 160/4 20 v Australia 159/9 21 -1 Nottingham Jun 8, 2009 T20I 97
South Africa 114/3 11 v England 111 12 -1 Nottingham Jun 11, 2009 T20I 103

Only three times have teams won Twenty20 matches despite scoring at a lower run-rate than the opposition, and predictably, all three involved small totals. The first instance was at Eden Park in December 2006, when Sri Lanka were dismissed for 115 in 18.2 overs. New Zealand took a ball more to reach the target and, this might be splitting hairs, their run-rate was 0.002 lower than Sri Lanka's.

The other two occurred in the space of three days in Belfast during the ICC World Twenty20 qualifiers in August 2008. Netherlands were bowled out for 97 in 18.4 overs and Canada took 19.3 to knock off the runs at a run-rate 0.11 less than Netherlands'. A day later Kenya were dismissed for 67 in 17.2 overs and Ireland did not win until the final over of their chase.

Winning a T20I despite a lower run-rate than the opposition (excluding matches with adjusted targets)
Team Score RPO Opposition Score RPO Diff Ground Start Date Scorecard
Canada 99/6 5.07 v Netherlands 97 5.19 -0.119 Belfast Aug 2, 2008 T20I 60
Ireland 72/6 3.75 v Kenya 67 3.86 -0.108 Belfast Aug 4, 2008 T20I 64
New Zealand 116/5 6.27 v Sri Lanka 115 6.27 -0.002 Auckland Dec 26, 2006 T20I 12

Teams who lose more wickets than their opponents tend to lose Twenty20 matches unless the difference between the number of wickets lost is small. For instance, only once has a team won despite losing five more wickets than their opponents. Sri Lanka were bowled out for 163 at Southampton but managed to contain England to 161 for 5. England needed nine off the last over but scored only six.

Winning a T20I despite losing more wickets than the opposition (excluding matches with adjusted targets)
Team Score Opposition Score Diff Ground Start Date Scorecard
Sri Lanka 163 v England 161/5 5 Southampton Jun 15, 2006 T20I 7
India 174/7 v Sri Lanka 171/4 3 Colombo (RPS) Feb 10, 2009 T20I 82
England 188/9 v Zimbabwe 138/7 2 Cape Town Sep 13, 2007 T20I 25
New Zealand 191/9 v West Indies 155/7 2 Hamilton Dec 28, 2008 T20I 79
Australia 150/7 v New Zealand 149/5 2 Sydney Feb 15, 2009 T20I 83
South Africa 128/7 v New Zealand 127/5 2 Lord's Jun 9, 2009 T20I 99
Sri Lanka 144/9 v Ireland 135/7 2 Lord's Jun 14, 2009 T20I 108
England 153/7 v India 150/5 2 Lord's Jun 14, 2009 T20I 109
Bangladesh 166 v Zimbabwe 123/9 1 Khulna Nov 28, 2006 T20I 9
West Indies 208/8 v England 193/7 1 The Oval Jun 28, 2007 T20I 15
New Zealand 190 v India 180/9 1 Johannesburg Sep 16, 2007 T20I 32
South Africa 154/8 v England 135/7 1 Cape Town Sep 16, 2007 T20I 34
New Zealand 164/9 v England 159/8 1 Durban Sep 18, 2007 T20I 36
Netherlands 163/6 v England 162/5 1 Lord's Jun 5, 2009 T20I 90

If there's a particular List that you would like to see, email us with your comments and suggestions.

George Binoy is a senior sub-editor at Cricinfo